Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Robot Helicopters To Single Out Pirate Ships

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the does-this-pass-the-skiff-test? dept.

The Military 123

Hugh Pickens writes "Innovation News reports that the U.S. Navy plans to upgrade its robotic Fire Scouts with electronic 'brains' that are able to automatically recognize small pirate boats spotted through 3D laser imaging by bouncing millions of laser pulses off distant objects to create a 3D 'radar' image of any boats on the high seas — a technology known as LIDAR or LADAR — so that their new software can automatically compare the 3D images to pirate boat profiles on record. Having smarter robotic helicopters could ease the workload strain for Navy sailors, who must otherwise eyeball the data coming from the new Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS) — a sensor mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and the 3D LADAR technology. Meanwhile, the Navy has begun testing other new technologies to tackle the problem of piracy — an especially thorny issue because of Somali pirates attacking ships off the coast of East Africa. Its more forceful countermeasures include a combination of lasers and machine guns, as well as swarms of smart rockets capable of picking out their own small boat targets."

cancel ×

123 comments

Arrrr! (4, Funny)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606379)

Yer cannet detact me skull'n'bones flag!

Re:Arrrr! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608035)

Pay me 30 million and I will stop the pirates using uncivilized means. Pay me 10 billion and I'll stop the pirates using somewhat more civilized means.

You fight piracy by going to the root cause and removing it. That does not necessarily mean killing but it does not mean coddling either.

Somalia needs to have their population reduced, preferably by legal migration and dispersal. The remaining ones need 'tough love', rules and laws that will eventually make them human again but you're looking at centuries. Only religious fanatics now have that sort of will. The British lost theirs. It was not that effective unfortunately.

If you want to isolate and leave them alone drop long term persistent area denial WMDs in a 20 mile zone around the coast and boarders and let them evolve on their own. I prefer isolating them even with such extreme measures as it will force them to grow or die on their own terms.

Re:Arrrr! (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608383)

You fight piracy by going to the root cause and removing it.

One of the "root causes" is foreign corporations overfishing and dumping toxic waste off of their coastal waters [earthfirst.com] , thereby ruining the local fishing industry and putting a LOT of Somalis out of the jobs. How would you go about solving that?

Re:Arrrr! (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608543)

You fight piracy by going to the root cause and removing it.

One of the "root causes" is foreign corporations overfishing and dumping toxic waste off of their coastal waters [earthfirst.com] , thereby ruining the local fishing industry and putting a LOT of Somalis out of the jobs. How would you go about solving that?

As mentioned, migration and dispersal, forcefully decreasing the population density to that which the area can now reasonably support after the reduction in fishing opportunities.

Re:Arrrr! (3, Funny)

Motard (1553251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608125)

Couldn't we just hide GPS tracking devices in peg legs?

Re:Arrrr! (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608201)

No, it's Arrrgh! and shove off!

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Robots Vs. Pirates (5, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606413)

I am the only one who thinks that sounds like a summer movie?

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606557)

Ninjas still win.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607087)

But I can't see any ninjas anywhere in that title---

oh.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607693)

Is that little man in the boat a ninja? No wonder so many guys can't find him.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608355)

If you find him. The duration of sex increases. But your pleasure level does not.

'nope, can't find him.'

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606577)

Actually, I was thinking: I remember that from Snowcrash.

I'm just waiting to hear how Comcast is involved.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606847)

I'm just waiting to hear how Comcast is involved.

Simple. The new software doesn't actually run on the helicopters--those little buddies just send the raw data to cable boxes. To prevent suspicious hitches in TV video, the boxes only comb the images for pirates between channel changes, when the on-screen channel guide is open, or when watching MTV or Fox News. ;)

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608085)

Those two channels would seem so diametrically opposed that a person who has a choice would watch one or the other based on the political nature each one represents. But then again.... MTV doesnt really play music anymore does it? It is more like a daily regurgitation of dramatic people put into a room and given a task to accomplish that would cause strife and satire in an increasing diatribe of ignorant people.
So... yeah, now I see your connection
/socialrage

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606633)

Robots Vs. Pirates Vs. Aliens Vs. Ninjas Vs. Cowboys. Vs. Wizards. An epic battle coming soon to a theater near you.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606793)

Robots Vs. Pirates Vs. Aliens Vs. Ninjas Vs. Cowboys. Vs. Wizards. An epic battle coming soon to a theater near you.

No zombies? Lame.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (1)

mallyn (136041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606873)

Yes, and the darn sound bleeds through to the adjacent theater in the megaplex where I am trying to watch and listen to the quietest scene in the Sound of Music (yes, you know the scene, when the two of them propose in the gazibo).

If you like these action movies, then build theaters with decent sound isolation; not paper thin wall between the auditoriums!!!

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607379)

Yeah, well I hate it when those quiet scenes from art films in adjacent theaters bleed through and suck up the stupid from my Michael Bay films!

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (5, Funny)

monktus (742861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606805)

Pirate pours seawater over robot, alien shoots pirate with ray gun, ninja decapitates alien, cowboy shoots ninja, wizard hexes cowboy, Spock nerve pinches wizard, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitate lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporises rock, rock crushes scissors.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606967)

Not epic battle.

Ultimate showdown.

Of ultimate destiny.

Re:Robots Vs. Pirates (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608601)

In other words, we need to stop it with all this autonomous drone nonsense, and just send a clone of Fred Rogers down there?

This tech (1, Offtopic)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606415)

Soon will be applied to land pirates too. When you get up from your computer after downloading a movie, watch out for incoming automated missiles. Yesterday, they tried throwing a whole plane at some guy who downloaded a copy of Microsoft office illegally.

Prior Art (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606445)

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, Chapter 12. "They usually calls the spy-glass, by reason of a lookout they kept when they was in the anchorage" Disney has probably licensed it by now.

Official tagging guidance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606513)

Roboninjacopters

Bigger issue that needs solving (3, Insightful)

Calydor (739835) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606545)

What is the use of this until a far greater problem with the Somali pirates is solved?

Capturing them does nothing. No African nation will take them and prosecute them, so after a few weeks the navy ships are forced to simply release them, after which they go right back to pirating. Until that problem is solved, really, what is the use of better detection tools?

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606657)

Hellfire from above for the FREEDOM that we love! - Team America.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (2)

Fallingwater (1465567) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606707)

I assume action would follow detection. Profile identification is only good for initial suspicion, after that a manned patrol boat would have to be sent. Hail suspect vessel, identify, provoke into attacking and riddle full of holes as deemed necessary.
Note that I'm not debating the morality of the issue, I'm just saying what I think is the most likely scenario. Drastic actions are easier to provoke and justify on the seas.

And What About False Negatives? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608261)

This is pretty close to what worries me, but on the opposite side. I'd worry that they rely on it too much and not flag a vessel as being a pirate (or miss it entirely) even though it is one. And then have the ships ignore it and as a result someone gets killed because whatever navy uses it, reduces the number of lookouts who would have correctly judged the situation.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606729)

The simplest solution is to place armed naval personal on each boat travelling through those waters. Once attacked they simply return fire with the appropriate weapons in order to ensure the attacking vessel is disabled, a rescue vessel could the rendezvous with the disabled vessel to pick up survivors. The merchant vessel continues on it's way and once out of troubled water's the sailors are transferred to another vessel travelling in the opposite directions. Taking on the military personal would be strictly voluntary due to the extreme response ie use of laser guided missiles.

Tried and failed (2, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606781)

Armed merchantmen have been tried in the past. It has failed for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is that then pirates will shoot to kill the crews of any ships that pass. This is the law of unintended consequences that organisations like the NRA like to keep quiet about; if the good guys acquire guns, the bad guys simply acquire bigger guns, and become nastier.

Exactly as with American inner cities, the problem is that crime works because the alternative is not to have an income. The pirates are the products of a shit-hole failed State. The people who need shooting are the on-shore warlords. Once you have government, and law, and an economy, most people do not want to earn their living by risking being shot at.

Summary: piracy is a symptom, not the cause.

Re:Tried and failed (3, Insightful)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606985)

Failed? I wouldn't call this [liveleak.com] failed. Furthermore, when considering piracy, in what cases have pirates come back with bigger guns? It's not just merchant vessels hiring PMCs to ward off pirates, but navies ranging from the US to India patrol the Indian Ocean. I can't imagine pirates would have bigger guns than they would. Make the risks of kidnapping too high and piracy will decline.

Re:Tried and failed (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607283)

Once you have government, and law, and an economy, most people do not want to earn their living by risking being shot at.

And yet the US military employs about 3 million soldiers.

Re:Tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607389)

Law and economy are debatable. And I live here!

Re:Tried and failed (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607419)

Once you have government, and law, and an economy, most people do not want to earn their living by risking being shot at.

And yet the US military employs about 3 million soldiers.

When I think of US, I don't know why, it is not the economy but the debt [msn.com] that pops into my mind. Granted, there are some signs of improvement [businessinsider.com] and, GDP percentage-wise, others are much worse.

Re:Tried and failed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607333)

That does not give them the right to shoot at merchant ships. They can get bigger guns all they want, but if they get too nasty, we will put guns on our drones (no human lives on our side will be involved), and then let them loose. This move will immediately clean the "pirate" virus that is plaguing the merchant ships. We will simply start shooting them dead, and they will not even have a chance of approaching merchant ships, since they will be sniped by the drones as soon as they leave the shores.

Re:Tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608087)

Typical American solution to problems.

- "Other people have no rights, if they do something we don't like it's wrong" - Check
- "We'll just get guns" - Check
- Dehumanize the "enemy" or non-Americans in general - Check (in this case, calling them a virus)
- Shoot people: Check
- Believing the USA can accomplish all kinds of military feats by just saying so, like building an army of robots - Check

Why not reach out to those pirates and negotiate something? Like paying them a tax to let US ships through? Its kind of their waters after all...
Ah but no, why pay for something you can take for free, especially when dealing with a third-world country? Easier to just kill them than spare a few bucks. And if anyone complains, just hide behind the excuse that they're not the official government therefore we shouldn't pay them any taxes (even though the official government is pretty awful and exploits the Somali people).

The US sense of entitlement is really stunning in the 21st century. I've seen less backwards third-world countries.

Re:Tried and failed (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608647)

Why not reach out to those pirates and negotiate something? Like paying them a tax to let US ships through? Its kind of their waters after all...

Erm... no it's not. They're international waters, and the attacks are for their own personal gain. If they were acting under the auspices of a sovereign nation, they would be Privateers, not Pirates. Of course were that the case, Somalia would have been invaded and their government replaced years ago.

Re:Tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608911)

Why not reach out to those pirates and negotiate something? Like paying them a tax to let US ships through? Its kind of their waters after all...

Somali pirates do not restrict themselves to Somali waters.

Re:Tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607489)

This is modded insightful? Apparently that is so due to lack of a "complete fucking idiocy" moderation.

Re:Tried and failed (1)

nut (19435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608473)

The pirates are the products of a shit-hole failed State.

Actually the pirates are the products of the destruction of the Somali fishing industry from illegal over-fishing by foreign vessels.

Reference. [time.com]

Reference. [wikipedia.org]

Although I grant you that the lack of a functional government in Somalia was a contributing factor.

Re:Tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608839)

Wow, you have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

How about some evidence to back up your claims?

Shipping companies are arming themselves [boston.com] , because it happens to be the most cost effective solution to the problem. And it does work [slashdot.org] .

Re:Tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39609009)

This is the law of unintended consequences that organisations like the NRA like to keep quiet about; if the good guys acquire guns, the bad guys simply acquire bigger guns, and become nastier.

You made the assertion, and you need to cite right now.. but of course you can't. You're a lying sack of fucking shit.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606869)

If it were profitable enough to pay for the armed guard, the merchants would have hired them. Paying for the armed guards via military or police forces just transfers the cost to taxpayers.

The pirates are *poor*, from a bankrupt country in the midst of rebellion, or their own country's military would arrest them when they docked.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606957)

Many ships already are.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5e2_1333668975 [liveleak.com]

A lot of shipping companies are arming their ships with private security and they are killing anyone that comes at their ships.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607335)

That's a good example: thank you for sending the link. It's still expensive, though.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608173)

cheaper than losing a ship and paying for the dead crew and lost cargo.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607501)

Actually it costs almost nothing to hire a team of ex-Navy e-nothings who are trained to repel boarders (which is everyone especially anyone with a sea duty rotation)., make them do misc other work, and have them train the rest of the crew.

I could hire an all military team of 4 guys for 180k/year assuming I pay them 35k and give them 10k worth of benefits, a free stateroom (they'd even be happy 2 to a room), and was hiring US sailors. I could have these guys train the rest of my crew and even assign them other tasks.. This btw is less than a licensed able bodied seaman ~(60-80k/yr) which all of these guys could probably become with a month of light study... they don't know this and for like a year or two they'll work super fucking hard for no reason until they adapt to civilian life. To equip these guys you need maybe 1000/person for a rifle and some body armor.

I could hire ONE well qualified ex-military able bodied seaman (VBSS team/ prize crew/ blackwater training, etc) and pay him the same I would have paid him anyhow (60-80k) and let him call himself head of security, anti-piracy officer, maritime terrorism expert or any other career enhancing title other than security officer and he'd be pleased as shit, let him know the second he gets legitimate certification on his own dime he can start calling himself the ships security officer. Then he will leave to make 100k somewhere else and I can get a brand new tax rebate and someone who is more recently trained to replace him.

Plus a 5k tax rebate for each one of these suckers you hire, the right to plaster your website with eagles and american flags, etc.

If you're from a poorer country you're in luck, I've spoken to military sailors from other countries who make 5-12 dollars a month. Before you try and tell me that's a lot of money in country X, this is to protect a ship that burns the same fuel at roughly the same prices as american ships, that 12 dollars is getting burned up every hour at least, you can pay them accordingly.

Not protecting your seaborne assets happens for the same reason you see companies with internet facing telnet and rdp ports.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607797)

The navies are already out in these places doing their jobs, the navies provide the equivalent to all emergency services out on the ocean, no matter what country you're from if you get seriously injured or have some sort of emergency nearby navy ships from any country will come to your assistance, treat you well and figure out how to get you to a hospital. They do this in addition to their diplomatic, interdiction, warfighting, and intelligence gathering functions.

  If you have a merchant vessel you can almost certainly hire armed security, even the shittiest of merchant ships can afford to put some trained men on a gun.. the only reason they don't is because they don't give a fuck.

The notion that armed conflict with non-governmental forces will escalate in the form of fiercer, better trained pirates and bigger guns is laughable beyond belief. Nothing on the seas, smugglers, pirates, or terrorists are any match for your typical navy boarding party with the backing of a navy vessel. Not to mention the navy seals... they're truly amazing.. supermen even. If you were a somoli pirate being ordered to surrender over the radio and you know non-compliance will result in ninjas raining from the sky and history shows that it'll be their option to shoot you or hog tie you.. well that's pretty fucking hopeless no matter what guns you think you have.

I hate how we're duped into spending tons of money on the military to fight problem X well beyond the point of diminishing returns, but fighting piracy on the ocean is not one of these cases, it's relatively cheap and highly effective.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (0)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606925)

Armed merchant men at sea were once known as privateer's who then in turn became even stronger pirates.

Also it isn't having armed men abroad that is the problem but going into port later. Most countries consider a man with a gun on a boat to be a hostile navy.(See the USS Cole for how much damage a small boat with intent to kill can do to a larger one).

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (2)

infinitelink (963279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607167)

My history is shaky on this, but I very much doubt your assertion that armed merchantmen were known as privateers who later became stronger pirates; actually, I know it's bull, because all merchant vessels at the time were armed, and privateers' vessels were dedicated to their task; they also happened to consist largely of former pirates made legitimate by grant of letters of course or letters of marque and reprisal, although some distinguished those granted these letters from privateers... it gets technical, hence the shaky history, but some dumbass that used a merchant vessel would probably not fare well in that business, unless for some reason it happened to be militaristic in design. "Privateers" very specifically had the blessing of a nation to...go after other nations' ships (i.e. enemy nations). They weren't merchantmen of the sort that just conduct trade: they were the agents of "private war", hence "privateer". Of further interest to some, the U.S. retains formal legal power to grant letters of marque and reprisal, without subjection to any treaty (you may note that the U.S. government and legal system is constructed in such a way that they cannot be subjected or made secondary to treaties with foreign powers, hence why very often treaties it signs are signed only with certain stipulations and/or exceptions, or never fully ratified though arrangements may be made to comply extensively and voluntarily). But anyway, simple point meant: "pirate"=armed illegal marauder, "privateer"="legitimized-by-license pirate". The USS Cole was bombed, by the way, not attacked by a man on a boat with a gun. It was attacked by determined terrorists, not people wanting to lawfully defend themselves. Methinks the U.S. should apply extraterritorality as it has with the likes of speech rights and force the issue around the world, as simply defining someone with a weapon as "hostile" without intent or purpose is illogical and serves the interests only of statists. Law enforcement in the U.S. that encounters someone (such as on the roads) whose license plates or I.D., when checked against databases, indicates they have weapons permits, actually speaks of feeling safer, because they know the person is a lawful carrier, as opposed to some punk that's going to shoot them in the face for inconvenience: I would bet that assuming registered commercial vessels are armed for self defense would be a similar case, especially given that commercial entities would not wish to suffer liabilities over someone shooting the wrong people, and be quite strong on the discipline if their folks were armed. But you should note that arming vessels for self defense against pirates likely has little to do with small arms, and includes vaster measures which would in aggregate still be cheaper than deploying warships to sparsely monitor shipping routes, and with some thought about technology could use a couple thousand dollars of off-the-shelf parts to detect incoming small craft, and turn the larger arms in the appropriate direction to sink them.

The USS Cole???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607633)

What damage? The cole got pretty fucked up, it wouldn't be sailing the 7 seas for awhile and 13 sailors died, but it was a cheap shot, the only reason that boat got so close is because it looked like it was there to help them handle lines and come into port. But look at this, she did not sink, the sailors successfully fought to keep the ship floating and if somehow this had happened out in the ocean whatever ship the bombers were launched from would be facing rockets, missiles, cannons, small arms, rhib boats with boarders, helicopters, hell even torpedos or cwis if they want.. they're pretty much fucked and the navy ship is still floating minus a few sailors and in need of a tow and some time in drydock.

After that any organization that was involved can expect to have SOCOM fucking their shit up regularly from then on. The only reason things worked out so well for al-Qaeda is because bush treated them like a PR opportunity.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (3, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608213)

Bullshit. From Wikipedia, and it is a good definition: A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. These are people authorized during wartime by a government. Some may have become pirates later, but often were just considered pirates by those on the opposing side in the war.

In fact some privateers are considered some of the greatest heroes in history. For example, Sir Francis Drake who repelled the Spanish Armada during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I was a privateer (but considered by the Spanish to be a pirate).

Armed merchantmen were also known as the Merchant Marine (or Merchant Navy) [wikipedia.org] during World War II. They were one of the most important reasons that the Allies won the war, and they were on the front line for the entirety of the Battle of the Atlantic [wikipedia.org] , the longest single campaign of the war. No matter what equipment we, the Allies had, no matter how many men or how great our generals, none would have made it to the fight without the Merchant Marine. Not only were they essential, they were true heroes. Until antisubmarine technology and tactics came up to speed, many were at the mercilessness of the German U-boat wolf packs that killed many of the seamen. And if they were not armed, many more would have perished and we would have lost the war before it began since neither Britain nor Russia would have been able to get enough food or military equipment and ammunition to hold off the Axis forces. And none of these men became pirates after. And as I see it, since they were private merchant vessels authorized by governments to be armed and attack enemy ships, they were technically speaking, privateers.

The way I see it, all shipping in areas where pirates are known to operate should be expected to carry armed guards and weapons. Why the hell should we be expected to spend money... let me rephrase that... why the hell should we be expected to waste money on trials and food and jail space for these thieves and murderers is beyond me. I think all the politically correct governments should get their heads out of their asses (including mine: Canada). If they see a pirate, blow him out of the water. Then let the survivors drown. Soon enough these thieving fucks will stop. It's not like they have the kind of resources to be able to take on anything of any size anyway. Nor will they be able to. They don't have the resources, so we won't see them attacking with Harpoon missiles or Excocets, or heaven forbid P-700, P-800, or Brahmas either. If that extremely unlikely day ever comes, they won't be attacking from small boats either.

A novel take on history (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608441)

I actually have a copy of the WW2 book "Britain's Glorious Navy", edited by Sir Reginald Bacon and passed on to me by my father, who was given it during his training. It is pretty authoritative and it makes it clear that you are wrong. They were not authorised to attack enemy ships, nor were they equipped to do so. They were armed purely for defence against submarines and aircraft. Furthermore, armed merchant ships were directly managed by the Government. They were in no sense at all "privateers". The ships were leased to the British Government at a lease of 5% of capital value per annum.

Large passenger liners were used as escort ships, and equipped with guns up to 6 inch. They were very unsafe because they were not armoured, but they were being used as temporary cruisers, not as merchant ships.

During an earlier phase of piracy, the Bristol merchants were faced with the need to protect their ships. Many of them were Quakers. The solution was that they seconded a number of their (non-Quaker) sailors to the Navy to crew the protection ships, and paid for the protection.

In short, in two periods for which I have documentary evidence, the solution was to increase the Naval presence for offence, and in the case of WW2 to give merchant ships guns and depth charges to protect against marine attack. It was not to turn merchant ships into offensive/carrier hybrids.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606743)

That what the missiles are for, no trial required. Seriously, "just kill them all" is not a valid route to take for a police action.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607493)

That what the missiles are for, no trial required. Seriously, "just kill them all" is not a valid route to take for a police action.

Works for dark-skinned people half-way around the world.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606841)

What is the use of this until a far greater problem with the Somali pirates is solved?

Capturing them does nothing. No African nation will take them and prosecute them, so after a few weeks the navy ships are forced to simply release them, after which they go right back to pirating.

You're right. We need to go back to the classic way of dealing with them. Capture them, convene Captain's Mast, try them, then execute them.

Seriously though, they engage in piracy because the risk is greatly outweighed by the reward. The Somali government cannot do anything, as they can barely keep control of Mogadishu. The shipping/insurance companies? It's easier for them to just pay the couple hundred thousand dollar ransom. The only way to stop piracy is to make the risk no longer worth the reward. This can be done in 2 ways, by raising the risk significantly, or reducing the reward(in a relative sense, ie make fishing/farming/whatever more profitable). And right now, the political/economic situation in Somalia makes the first way much more feasible than the second way.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

infinitelink (963279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607189)

Best response to the "unintended consequences" deflection or diversion crying "guns no good, scary me, ahhh!!!" Would mod up if I had points given that people also divert with "but piracy's the symptom, not the problem!", such simple "logic" not understanding that sometimes treating symptoms is the only option that can be realized. Mod up, mod up.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606931)

...what is the use of better detection tools?

A business man you are not...

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607277)

Good plan. Please implement it post haste.

somalia doesnt have a fucking government (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607353)

that would be problem number 1.

of course tackling that would mean going after the Saudis, Emiratis (including Dubai), Pakistanis and others who finance al-Shabaab. and god knows there are probably some 'red blooded americans' in there too making money off the drug deals or whatever.

Re:Bigger issue that needs solving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608107)

Release them exactly where you arrested them? Nobody said anything about having to give them their boats back though.

Microsoft visio 2010 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606583)

Use for IT, business process management, pre-drawn different shapes, sample graphics and templates you can quickly start drawing. No matter what kind of drawing, Microsoft visio 2010 [buydownloadvisio2010.com] can help you get started quickly.With the newly enhanced template that contains SharePoint workflow rules and logic, have been able to Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 and Microsoft visio 2010 download [buydownloadvisio2010.com] to export and import workflow, create and monitor the SharePoint workflow easier than ever before.

A big heap of cardboard boxes... (3, Insightful)

paj1234 (234750) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606591)

...readily alter one's piratey-boat profile.

Re:A big heap of cardboard boxes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606661)

Incedentally, the drones following these robot choppers also readily alter one's piratey-boat profile.

Re:A big heap of cardboard boxes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606737)

...readily alter one's piratey-boat profile.

Drone operator: "Sir, we have a target!"

CO: "What it is it?"

"Well, sir it looks like a big floating ..."

Lifeguard boss on resort beach: "Johnson! What are YOU looking at?!"

Lifeguard: "I don't know sir. But it sure and hell looks like a big ...

"Weiner! Get your wieners!"

And it goes on ....

Re:A big heap of cardboard boxes... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606997)

...readily alter one's piratey-boat profile.

Aside from the cheap and low-to-no-tech countermeasures you propose, this system seems pretty much doomed to be a 'small boat detector' rather than a 'pirate detector', given the difficulty of determining intent before they get within sight of some target vessel.

Now, if you adopt the de-facto policy of "yeah, we are just going to hunt any small boats that don't look innocent enough to us, who exactly is going to object and why do we care?", then the difference is immaterial; but if there are legal or PR problems involved with false-positive 'incidents', it doesn't exactly take a rocket surgeon to pack some discount fishing supplies along with the AKs when stocking up for the next pirating trip. Guns sink fast(and are probably a legal and sensible thing to be carrying in the area anyway, so they are both disposable and not proof of intent).

Doesn't render the system useless necessarily; but it's only a modest automation of the existing 'dispatch to vessel being approached suspiciously' process unless you are, in fact, interested in clearing the water with more efficiency than tact.

Re:A big heap of cardboard boxes... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608075)

You go pretty far in your conclusions for knowing so few of the tactical realities.

The pirates use small boats launched from "mother ships." If you can track small vessels, then if they attack somebody you can check the sensor logs and find the mother ship. Then you can shut down an operational unit completely.

All they really need to do is remove the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606609)

Their fishing trawlers gutted the Somali economy.

India (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606713)

Ever since Somalia piracy began to rise I've been thinking this could be an opportunity for India to break out and become a great power. They've been making such strides in so many areas, but in geopolitical terms are still defined by their regional spats with Pakistan and China. Directing their navy (yes, it's still small) to take down the Somalian pirates would be a way for them to change that perception. It was, after all, a similar move by the United States to take down the Barbary pirates that debuted its role as a global player.

Re:India (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607131)

They might be rather more sensible to stay away for as long as somebody else is willing to take the bait instead(though they do currently have a small force with CTF-151, as does Pakistan).

Nobody really wants to touch the 'go after the pirates directly' problem because that would mean voluntarily wading into the mire of another pest-riddled franchise of Ethniclashistan and pursuing an open-ended peacekeeping of attrition against a dynamic grab-bag of unsavory groups that can't quite decide if they hate you or each other more.

On the high seas, there is at least the advantage of being ludicrously overqualified, which keeps the risk of casualties to a minimum; but it doesn't make playing whack-a-mole against junk you could practically buy at a sporting goods store with your big, butch, blue-water navy any cheaper or less Sisyphean... I can only assume that it makes sense at all because the training exercises that they'd be doing to keep away from port aren't too much cheaper, and every so often somebody will insinuate that Al Qaeda is worming their way into the pirate business somehow.

More than naval action (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609085)

It does not make sense to play whack-a-mole with pirate vessels on the high seas. It does make sense to conduct operations against their bases on land. In fact, that's precisely what the US did in the First Barbary War [wikipedia.org] . If India were to do likewise, it would herald a new geopolitical era for that country.

At any rate, I'd rather it were India, as a democracy, than China. I'm sure Indians would rather it were them instead of China, too.

Re:India (2)

infinitelink (963279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607209)

Why would a nation in such a bad economic position (i.e. population total vs. productive population, defense capabilities in view, etc.) wish to present itself as a power of any kind? That would be silly, and make its neighbors nervous. Better to keep the hush on even if it were far more capable.

Dual purposes (3, Interesting)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606715)

The technologies being developed by the Navy also have another use: the current battle plan for the Iranian Navy, should they decide to harass shipping traffic (again) or try to close the Strait of Hormuz would be to use lots of small boats, much as the pirates do. But unlike the pirates, they would tend to be more destructive instead of trying to board the ships. Being able to detect those boats from afar, recognize them as a threat and then destroy/deter them from a standoff distance is the key to maintaining open traffic there, and incredibly difficult to do.

Alternatively (0, Offtopic)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606813)

How about the US government stops listening to Netanyahu and the paranoid wing of the Israeli government, listens to its own intelligence (and the former head of Mossad), recognises Iran as a regional power that is no worse than Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, and starts using serious diplomacy on the slow process of getting Iran's head out of the sand? As Churchill remarked, jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

Re:Alternatively (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607513)

How about the US government stops listening to Netanyahu and the paranoid wing of the Israeli government, listens to its own intelligence (and the former head of Mossad), recognises Iran as a regional power that is no worse than Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, and starts using serious diplomacy on the slow process of getting Iran's head out of the sand? As Churchill remarked, jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

It's unpatriotic to think there's a better solution than bombs.

Re:Alternatively (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607861)

We have been trying to deal via diplomacy with North Korea and Iran for the last 20 years. The neo-cons, reagan and W, worked with Iran, while at the same time, both vilified each other. However, there is little doubt that iran IS working on nuke bomb development. Then Obama tried to open up the lines of talking and Iran said no. Finally, Iran, like North Korea before it, is talking but saying nothing. They are simply stalling.

Re:Alternatively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608137)

Making unrealistic demands and refusing to make any reasonable concessions is not diplomacy.

Re:Alternatively (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608651)

What unreasonable demands were made? The fact that Iran was to live up to their nuke treaty obligations? The fact that we know a number of things about them that they keep hiding though they promised to do otherwise?

Seriously, what demands were unrealistic?

Re:Dual purposes (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608065)

The technologies being developed by the Navy also have another use [..]

Very interesting- because the numbers do not add up: as far as I know, piracy in the region has been occuring for several years now, and policing the area is simply more expensive than paying ransom. It is not clear to me what has the motivation been (besides money) to "clear the waters". And when I say "clear to me" I mean from an economic planning point of view, because I am pretty sure that this is an issue that always comes up in meeting rooms. Police the waters, okay, but how much does it cost? The obvious choice in such a large-scale project is a (or a few) military body(-ies), and several nations have vessels operating already. But the military is also very good at estimating costs, and for that kind of ongoing operation I would not be surprised if costs are measured in tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per day. Pit that against the few millions of dollars every now and then for ransom, insurance policies, plus the "not my problem" attitude, and there you go: you are on your own.

Sadly, field-testing military technology sound like a much, much more plausible explanation for the sudden spike of interest into "solving the piracy problem".

a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606723)

It's great to identify pirates with robotics by I don't trust it to make a kill decision.

You are being lied to about pirates (3, Interesting)

thinker (7404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606727)

Piracy arose as a response by local fishermen from littoral towns such as Eyl, Kismayo and Harardhere to illegal fishing by foreign trawlers.[97][98][99] An upsurge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean has also been attributed to the effects of the December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated local fishing fleets and washed ashore containers filled with toxic waste that had been dumped by European fishing vessels.[99][100]--Somalia [wikipedia.org]

"What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor."--You are being lied to about pirates [independent.co.uk]

Re:You are being lied to about pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607601)

Piracy arose as a response by local fishermen from littoral towns such as Eyl, Kismayo and Harardhere to illegal fishing by foreign trawlers.[97][98][99] An upsurge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean has also been attributed to the effects of the December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated local fishing fleets and washed ashore containers filled with toxic waste that had been dumped by European fishing vessels.[99][100]--Somalia [wikipedia.org]

"What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor."--You are being lied to about pirates [independent.co.uk]

Lol. Bet you think the Falklands belong to Argentina too.

Go back to China Chavez.

And I say that as someone who is probably more liberal than you.

Re:You are being lied to about pirates (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607837)

I am curious. How many fishing boats have been hijacked. Oh, yeah. None.

Re:You are being lied to about pirates (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608753)

I am curious. How many fishing boats have been hijacked. Oh, yeah. None.

You mean pirates honestly bought each and every boat that they are using?

AAARGH!, not LADAR (3, Funny)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606749)

Adaptive Aerial Antipirate Robotically Generated Holography!

Money well spent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606839)

Instead of educating them to enhance their chance on getting a paying job we invent stuff to find them, hunt them and shoot them out of the water.
Well done world.

Why? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606935)

Give all the ships the right to simply start shooting at any boat that approaches them. It's time to stop screwing around out there.

Give ships guns turrets, and when the idiots in the other boat get within 100 yards, turn everyone on board into red goo and sink the vessel.

every container ship or shipping vessel if it has a small team of 8 highly trained security and heavily armed cal easily repel these samali idiot pirates by firing on them to kill them all when they are within 100 yards or if it looks like they are heading to the boat after several loud warnings.

I would prefer they are given 40mm deck guns so they can take out the pirates boats with only a couple of shots.

Re:Why? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607003)

There are legal issues. For one, a lot of countries have a strange aversion to letting armed ships dock at their ports. You've also got to consider escalation: If you give your men guns, the pirates are going to reply with rocket launchers and build-it-yourself torpedoes. If South American drugrunners can build their own submarines, how hard can it be for a somali pirate to assemble a speedboat with a half-inch of steel plate over the occupents? It could certainly be entertaining for us to read about the arms race between bodgetastic pirates and shipping companies, but it'd be very expensive.

Re:Why? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607067)

I guarantee the samalis dont have many working rocket launchers. Rockets for the popular russian, RPG-7 is not a rocket launcher but a rocket propelled grenade and have a shorter range than an AR15 with a 20" barrel and a scope. Plus those RPG rounds are expensive compared to the nearly free AK47 rounds. Plus samali's are not expert sharp shooters, so their chances of hitting anything is random at best. I guarantee they dont practice.

Also the pirates want the ship so they will not be using RPG-29's that will breach the hull and start a fire sinking it.

Very small expert ex navy seal private teams can easily hold a container ship against a hundred samali pirates just based on training and the ability to even hit a target.

Re:Why? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608781)

Mercenaries on board can afford a gyrostabilized platform for a sniper with a .50 rifle. Incoming pirates would have no chance.

Ever taken a look at Somalia? (1)

Adayse (1983650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607309)

It's just rocks and sand.. Piracy is probably the only viable enterprise going there. It's more of an impromptu tax really and these robot counter-measures just unethical tax evasion. Pirate ships may also serve as fishing boats and refugee transport..

Frikin lasers? (1)

denbesten (63853) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607471)

Robotic Helecoptors with frikin' lasers? Sounds a tad familiar [wikipedia.org] .

Once this is worked out (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607821)

We can add loads of other pix: Chinese nuclear attack subs; Chinese nuclear boomer subs; Chinese destroyers; Chinese Aircraft Carriers; Chinese missiles; Chinese Aircraft; Chinese killer sats. Oh yeah, add some missiles from Iran and North Korea.

Anti ladar tarp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607999)

So, if they just cover the boat with an odd shape is not a pirate then?

Re:Anti ladar tarp? (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608827)

Lol to defeat the 3D image recog. software? I wonder how they'll tackle legitimate fishing boats apart from shooting them and going into cover up mode.

Do those UAVs have a weak point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608775)

Like shining a laser pen at their cameras or covering oneself with LEDs?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...